The Gulf’s route to reform

 13 Jun 2013 - 3:21

Two scenarios evolved after revolutions erupted in Arab countries. The first scenario underlined the fact that no Arab country, including the Gulf countries, was immune from the effects of these revolutions as well as public demands. The internal circumstances in each of these countries deny them this immunity and lay to rest the ideas of “Gulf peculiarity” and “immunity of Arab kingdoms”. 

The second scenario refers to the possible success of Arab kingdoms, including the Gulf countries, in curbing the effects of the waves of change that were set off with the eruption of what came to be called Arab Spring. 

This second scenario foresees the winds of change reaching these countries, although in a mild manner. It sought to underscore the fact that the legitimacy of the regimes in these countries is not subject to doubt by large proportions of their populations. 

Even so, calls for change continue to be made in these countries. These calls are being made strongly in four Gulf countries now. 

The Gulf countries differ among themselves on how best they should deal with these revolutions. Some of these countries offered direct support to them while others offered indirect support. A third group of countries, however, offered their support to what has come to be called the “counter-revolution”, while a fourth group of countries occupied the spectators’ benches. 

What can the Gulf countries do to best serve their interests and avoid potential crises in future by implementing reform programmes their people want? 

There are two important things that should be done now. The first thing to do is for these countries to perk up their critical mass of people. The second is for them to work hard to create an integrated vision for their future, as Abdullah Al Ghilani says.

The critical mass stands for the section of the public engaged in discourse on reform. 

At the same time, the integrated vision should revolve around effective public participation in executive and legislative matters. This vision also includes guarantees of plurality and freedoms, including the freedom of expression, assembly and organisation. Special attention must be given to social justice, which results in fair distribution of wealth and protection of public property. Independence and integrity of the judiciary is also an important part of this vision. The judiciary must be free from any interference by the executive, which will usher in rule of law. 

Other important components of this vision include equal opportunities for everyone, giving public jobs to honest and qualified people regardless of their political affiliations, modernising the state’s administrative apparatus and purging it of all sorts of corruption, liberating the economy and turning it from a tax-dependent consumptive economy to a productive one, and, finally, liberating foreign policy from regional control by turning it into a tool for protecting national security and boosting the gains of the Gulf countries.

Two scenarios evolved after revolutions erupted in Arab countries. The first scenario underlined the fact that no Arab country, including the Gulf countries, was immune from the effects of these revolutions as well as public demands. The internal circumstances in each of these countries deny them this immunity and lay to rest the ideas of “Gulf peculiarity” and “immunity of Arab kingdoms”. 

The second scenario refers to the possible success of Arab kingdoms, including the Gulf countries, in curbing the effects of the waves of change that were set off with the eruption of what came to be called Arab Spring. 

This second scenario foresees the winds of change reaching these countries, although in a mild manner. It sought to underscore the fact that the legitimacy of the regimes in these countries is not subject to doubt by large proportions of their populations. 

Even so, calls for change continue to be made in these countries. These calls are being made strongly in four Gulf countries now. 

The Gulf countries differ among themselves on how best they should deal with these revolutions. Some of these countries offered direct support to them while others offered indirect support. A third group of countries, however, offered their support to what has come to be called the “counter-revolution”, while a fourth group of countries occupied the spectators’ benches. 

What can the Gulf countries do to best serve their interests and avoid potential crises in future by implementing reform programmes their people want? 

There are two important things that should be done now. The first thing to do is for these countries to perk up their critical mass of people. The second is for them to work hard to create an integrated vision for their future, as Abdullah Al Ghilani says.

The critical mass stands for the section of the public engaged in discourse on reform. 

At the same time, the integrated vision should revolve around effective public participation in executive and legislative matters. This vision also includes guarantees of plurality and freedoms, including the freedom of expression, assembly and organisation. Special attention must be given to social justice, which results in fair distribution of wealth and protection of public property. Independence and integrity of the judiciary is also an important part of this vision. The judiciary must be free from any interference by the executive, which will usher in rule of law. 

Other important components of this vision include equal opportunities for everyone, giving public jobs to honest and qualified people regardless of their political affiliations, modernising the state’s administrative apparatus and purging it of all sorts of corruption, liberating the economy and turning it from a tax-dependent consumptive economy to a productive one, and, finally, liberating foreign policy from regional control by turning it into a tool for protecting national security and boosting the gains of the Gulf countries.